LONDON (SHARECAST) - The Lex column in the Financial Times has cast its eye over the eagerly anticipated shareholder vote to decide on Friday to decide the fate of the merger between Xstrata and Glencore. The tie-up, as the paper explains, was hailed for its operational and financial logic by both group chief executives when first announced in February with the exchange ratio (2.8 Glencore shares per Xstrata share) being agreed.
Lex said: "Now both appear to be washing their hands of the deal, and preparing for failure – even though it is the only possible combination. At best they are being inconsistent; at worst the men are showing scant regard for their shareholders."
The problem is that Qatar Holdings, which owns around 12% of the Xstrata is very much opposed to the deal on its original terms and demands a better exchange ratio. Meanwhile, the Glencore boss has dissed Xstrata's greenfield projects in Australia and highlighted falling commodities prices as reasons why he wouldn't 'bump up' the offer. The paper said that "clever minorities" sold Xstrata shares long ago.
"As investors prepare to blow a raspberry at Glencore, they must accept that a better offer may be a long time coming. If it comes at all," the column says.
The Questor column in The Telegraph has taken a look at budget airline easyJet following its launch of allocated seating idea a few days ago, ending its 'free-for-all' system that passengers seemed to dislike. Meanwhile, there was more reassuring news yesterday in terms of the airline's passenger statistics: numbers were up 6% year-on-year at 5.9m in August.
However, the column highlights that oil prices are on the rise again, with monetary stimulus measures likely to keep jet fuel prices elevated. This comes against a backdrop of rising taxes and charges at some European airports.
Questor labels the business as "robust", having raised its profit forecast already this year, and the shares have had a strong run. "However, a 'hold' rating still seems appropriate, given the potential headwinds. Nevertheless, the seating move is positive and long-term prospects are good," it said.
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